Tag Archives: John McCain

McCain keeps fighting the good fight

I want to offer some kind words about John McCain.

One year ago, Sen. McCain received a medical diagnosis no one wants to hear: He had contracted an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

I don’t know what the docs told him about his prognosis. Sen. McCain has indicated it was grim.

But he’s still with us. For that I am grateful.

I’ll be candid about Sen. McCain. I disagree with his conservative political views. I did not vote for him when he ran as the Republican nominee for president in 2008.

However, I long have admired Sen. McCain for the valiant public service he has given to his country. It spans many decades, including his years as a Navy officer.

In 1967, the young aviator had the extreme misfortune of being shot down over Hanoi during the height of the Vietnam War. He was taken captive and held for more than five years. He was injured when he ejected from his jet fighter; his wounds never were treated properly. He was tortured and submitted to solitary confinement.

He persevered. McCain ran for Congress, being elected to the House and then to the Senate.

His courage has never been doubted. His heroism in a time of war is well-documented. I long have admired this man’s service and I have saluted him — through this blog — many times.

I just feel compelled to wish Sen. McCain well as he continues his valiant battle. I consider him a heroic figure.

To think that Trump disparages this man

I am going to post one more item about Sen. John McCain and his frigid relationship with the man who happens to be president of the United States.

Then I’ll move on. Maybe

Take a gander at the man on crutches and in the Navy whites. He is John McCain. The picture was snapped in 1973. He is shaking hands with President Nixon, who welcomed home many of the men captured by North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

McCain spent more than five years in captivity. He endured torture, solitary confinement. He was injured when he bailed out of his jet fighter in 1967, but his broken bones never were treated properly by his captors.

This is the man Donald Trump said was a hero “only because he was captured.”

And while John McCain was enduring the wrath of our nation’s enemy, Donald Trump was at home obtaining a series of medical deferments that kept him out of the Vietnam War. Something about “bone spurs,” isn’t that right?

For the president of the United States to denigrate and disparage John McCain in the manner that he is done is the height — or is it the depth? — of miserable narcissism.

POTUS is a disgrace.

Meghan McCain won’t ‘forgive’ POTUS … good!

Meghan McCain clearly loves her father with all her heart.

Thus, she is taking a deserved hard line against the man who has disparaged, disrespected and disregarded her war-hero dad.

U.S. Sen. John McCain is battling brain cancer. He has faced down the toughest foes imaginable, given his more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

So, when Donald John Trump insults Sen. McCain — and doesn’t ever rebuke a White House staffer who did so as well — one can expect the senator’s daughter to take it personally.

Meghan McCain has become a celebrity in her own right, as a co-host of “The View.” She said this recently about the president, according to Time.com: “[Trump’s] comments are never going to be OK with me, especially at this moment in my life. I’m never going to forgive it,” the co-host of ABC’s The View said on stage. “I’m never going to move on from it.”

Why should she?

Trump once disparaged McCain’s Vietnam War service by saying he is a hero “only because he was captured.” Then he has continued to harp on the senator’s thumbs-down gesture that doomed Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And then we had the gem fly out of the mouth of former White House aide Kelly Sadler after McCain urged his Senate colleagues to reject Gina Haspel as the CIA director, given her role in torturing enemy combatants. “It doesn’t matter” what McCain said, Sadler muttered. “He’s dying anyway.”

Has the president called Sadler out? No. He got angry because her comments were leaked.

Meghan McCain said this, too: “If anyone wants to say anything to me in any way, they have to do it publicly,” she said. “I don’t take private phone calls from the Trump Administration anymore.

As for Sadler’s crack, Meghan McCain said this: “Kelly … it is not how you die. It is how you live.”

John McCain has lived a life of public service that is totally foreign to the president of the United States. I, too, admire Sen. McCain’s sacrifice in defense of our nation.

As for his daughter’s declaration that she cannot “forgive” the way the president has treated her father, I am in her corner.

Is this ex-POW also deserving of scorn from POTUS?

U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson of Plano is now my congressman. He’ll hold that title until early 2019. He will retire from Congress then and return to private life.

Johnson is a solid Republican. I am proud of his service to his country. You see, he got to Congress the hard way.

He is a one-time U.S. Air Force pilot who in 1966 had the misfortune of being shot down during the Vietnam War. He was held captive for nearly seven years. Seven years, man! He was tortured, sent to solitary confinement, denied sunlight and food.

He served heroically during his years in bondage.

And yet …

The man who would become president of the United States, Donald Trump, once said of one of Johnson’s Vietnam War colleagues — Sen. John McCain — that McCain was a “hero only because he was captured; I like people who aren’t captured, OK?”

Johnson became a member of what was called the Alcatraz Gang during his years in prison. They were separated from the rest of their fellow POWs because of the resistance they mounted against their captors. They were held in a camp about a mile away from what became known as the “Hanoi Hilton.”

Johnson was kept bound tightly each night in irons in a room where the North Vietnamese kept the light on 24/7.

These men were heroes in every sense of the term. I am aware of at least two Vietnam War POWs who received the Medal of Honor for their resistance: James Stockdale and Jeremiah Denton.

Stockdale was ordered to film a “confession” in which he would admit to “war crimes.” His response was to beat himself to a bloody pulp with a table leg, making him impossible to appear in any appearance in a propaganda film. Denton submitted to a filmed interview, but then blinked in Morse code the word “torture” to his audience in the Pentagon.

Sam Johnson also resisted mightily during his years as a captive.

As for Donald Trump’s assertion about Sen. McCain, you know how I feel about how he denigrated McCain’s heroism. Sen. McCain was one of many heroes who fought the enemy while locked up.

The same can be said of Rep. Johnson.

I hope one day to meet this hero … and tell him “welcome home”

‘We knew what we were getting’

The person who made the above statement is a friend of mine. I’ve known him for many years. We’ve shared a lot of laughs and even a bit of heartache together.

The knowledge of which he speaks concerns the presidency of Donald John Trump. My friend has said that Trump wasn’t his first choice as president, but given the choice he had in 2016 he felt compelled to vote for him.

Baggage and all.

I think my friend speaks for a lot of Americans who continue to sing the president’s praises. The reasons for those praises likely will escape me for as long as this man is in office, or even perhaps even longer.

My friend is an educated man. He is erudite and sophisticated. I wouldn’t classify him as one of the “deplorables” who — in the infamous words of Hillary Rodham Clinton — back Trump to the hilt come hell or high water.

However, I have trouble understanding whether he actually accepts the idea that a presidential candidate would denigrate a Vietnam War hero by saying he likes “those who aren’t captured” by the enemy, as Sen. John McCain was in 1967. Or that he gives a candidate a pass for mocking the physical disability of a noted journalist. Or that it’s OK for someone to boast to a TV host about grabbing women by their genitals because he’s a “star.”

Then there’s the lying. Yes, I know about politicians’ penchant for exaggeration, or for self-aggrandizement, or how they twist the truth to take on different meanings. Trump lies. Flat out! He says things that are demonstrably false.

What’s more, his lies often border on defamation of others. To wit:

Barack Obama ordered the wiretap of his 2016 campaign office: wrong. Millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016: wrong. Ted Cruz’s father might have been involved in President Kennedy’s murder because he was seen talking to Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the tragic event: false. Trump’s investigators had “evidence” that Barack Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii, but that he was born in Kenya: false.

I won’t get into the serial philandering and the endless array of failed business enterprises and the thousands of Americans who lost everything investing in these deals.

Trump’s supporters knew all this and still they elected him?

Maybe so. It simply blows my mind.

But there’s good news to report. Our friendship will persevere despite our political differences. For that I am eternally grateful.

This is how it should be on Capitol Hill

If you have a little less than 6 minutes of your time to spare, take that time to watch this brief video.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Republican, is paying tribute to Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, as Biden’s time as VP is nearing an end.

I cannot remember if I’ve shared this video here already. If so, I’d like to do so again to drive home the point that we are hearing damn little of this kind of comity coming from Capitol Hill.

These days we now are hearing snark and sass from Republicans leveling it against fellow Republicans.

Sen. McCain, of course, is seriously ill at the moment. He remains a glowing reminder nonetheless of an era when members of differing political parties could oppose each other without destroying friendships.

If only we could return to this time.

Sadler leaves White House … without a needed rebuke

Kelly Sadler has left her job at the White House. No one out here in Flyover Country had ever heard of her, until she popped off about Sen. John McCain in a closed-door meeting.

Bad call, Ms. Sadler.

Sen. McCain had called waterboarding “torture” and urged his Senate colleagues to reject the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA; he cited Haspel’s role in an “intensive interrogation” program. McCain knows torture, as he endured more than five years of it as a Vietnam War prisoner.

Sadler’s response? She “joked” that McCain’s criticism “doesn’t matter; he’s dying anyway.” What a knee-slapper.

She’s now gone. Donald J. Trump ordered a White House communications office revamping. Sadler is a casualty, having been shown the door.

McCain, of course, is battling a grievous illness. Sadler’s comment was totally, unequivocally out of bounds. It was tasteless and crass in the extreme.

I’m glad she’s gone. However, the president has not yet issued a public rebuke of the comment. He hasn’t yet said a word about how sorry he that a distinguished American politician was ridiculed by someone on his staff. The president has yet to say a word on McCain’s behalf or a word wishing him well as he battles brain cancer.

Oh, no. The housecleaning is aimed at plugging the leaks that made Sadler’s hideous “joke” public.

I am left, therefore, to conclude that Trump really is as heartless as other critics have concluded. A man with a heart would have told Sen. McCain he is sorry for the remark and then he would have fired — on the spot — the person who blurted it out.

C’mon, Ms. Sadler, just say you’re sorry

Kelly Sadler works in a White House where the Big Man — the president — never apologizes for anything.

She need not follow Donald John Trump’s lead. All she has to do to make an idiotic story dissipate is to apologize publicly to the man she disparaged so cruelly.

The man is Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain. He is fighting a grievous illness, brain cancer. Sadler, a mid-level White House communications office staffer, was attending a private meeting when she blurted out an insult directed toward Sen. McCain.

McCain had spoken against CIA director nominee Gina Haspel. He doesn’t like her stance on torturing enemy combatants. He has urged his Senate colleagues to reject her nomination to lead the CIA.

Sadler said McCain’s objection “doesn’t matter because he’s dying anyway.”

The story won’t go away. It should go away. All the staffer has to do is to stand before the nation and say she is sorry for her disparaging remarks aimed at a genuine war hero. You see, Sen. McCain’s opposition to torture comes the hard way: He experienced more than five years of it while being held captive during the Vietnam War.

Sadler’s demeaning remark has no place coming out of the mouth of a White House official who, I hasten to add, works for the public. That’s you and me, dear reader.

The president is entitled to withhold any apology if he chooses. My hope is that he hasn’t instructed Kelly Sadler to follow him down the path of arrogance.

My fear, though, is that he has done precisely that very thing.

Shameful.

‘A little bit of a victim’? Give it up, man!

Matt Schlapp needs to be slapped bald-headed.

The conservative activist has taken up some form of defense for the White House communications aide who said that Sen. John McCain’s criticism of CIA nominee Gina Haspel “doesn’t matter, because he’s dying anyway.”

The aide’s name is Kelly Sadler. Schlapp has defended her saying she’s a “little bit of a victim.”

No she’s not! She’s a thoughtless mid-level clown who popped off in private with what has been described as a “bad joke.”

McCain doesn’t like Haspel’s view of torturing enemy combatants. He urged the Senate reject her confirmation. Yes, he’s battling a life-threatening disease. However, he is of sound mind and is entitled to speak his mind about an important policy matter. And there is no one in the U.S. Senate who is more qualified to speak about torture than McCain, a former Vietnam War prisoner who endured years of torture at the hands of his captors.

Sadler popped off thoughtlessly.

Schlapp said this, according to The Hill: “Kelly is my friend. I feel bad she is going through this. She immediately called to apologize. She’s also a little bit of a victim here,” Schlapp told CNN “New Day” co-anchor Chris Cuomo.

The story has gotten national attention. It has serious legs and is threatening to keep on running until Sadler owns up publicly to her idiotic comment.

Spare us the indignation, too, over the leaking of the comment to the media. Big deal. All of those in the room are answerable to the public in the first place and millions of us out here way beyond the Beltway are damn angry that a White House functionary would be so cruel — even in “private.”

WH upset with leak more than crass comment?

There you have it. The White House press office is angrier that a crass and tasteless remark by a staffer about an ailing U.S. senator/war hero was leaked than it is about the remark itself.

That’s how I read press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s reported response to the remark.

White House aide Kelly Sadler said in a private meeting that no one should worry about Sen. John McCain’s opinion of CIA director nominee Gina Haspel because “he’s dying anyway.” McCain doesn’t like Haspel’s role in the U.S. campaign of “intense interrogation”; he calls it torture and given his own experience being tortured as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, he hates the idea. Haspel didn’t disavow the interrogation tactics to McCain’s liking and he said so.

That’s when Sadler popped off about McCain’s battle against brain cancer.

Sanders said Sadler’s remarks are “unacceptable” but then reportedly scolded the White House staff for leaking the remark in the first place.

A more appropriate topic to be discussed with White House staffers would be that (a) they are public employees answerable to the taxpayers and that (b) they need to be mindful of all the things they say, even in private.

If a chump like Sadler believes Sen. McCain is “dying anyway,” she is entitled to think those thoughts privately. Many of us out here beyond the Beltway disagree vehemently with her saying it out loud, even in a room full of other White House employees behind closed doors.

I get that Sen. McCain is an imperfect man. He was a rascal while attending the U.S. Naval Academy. He was known during his time as an aviator to be occasionally not play by every rule in the book. But then he got shot down in 1967 and endured more pain, suffering, anguish and heartache than any man should endure during his more than five years as a POW in North Vietnam.

Now he is fighting for his life. He has served with honor and distinction in service to his country for decades.

So, the White House press flack is concerned about the leaks? She should be many times more concerned that a White House staffer has a serious insensitivity streak that needs urgent repair. If she can’t control her mouth, then she needs to find another job.